You can't imagine what you're missing when you're missing your imagination!
Sue Richards is project coordinator at Art Jam, a community arts project underway in Guelph, Ontario. As the designated adventure guide empress, she's the best one to describe the organization's first experience with the brave new media world.
Adventure is the key to a full, rich life. When broadly defined, it can be incorporated in every nook and cranny of a person's being. Adventure is electrifying, energizing and, well... darn right scary at times. Bravery and courage are required. Trust in one's self is critical. And the rewards are ten fold.
Enter Art Jam. Imagination and creativity run wild and free under the gentle supervision of trained artists and educators. People explore and find gold within themselves. Folks laugh and are stimulated. Lives change.
This describes the physical form of Art Jam, a community arts project with spin-offs galore. It currently operates out of a old closed public school in Guelph, Ontario. After months of operation (it opened in May, '99) and 1,000 participants, Art Jam decided to add a new dimension to the picture, a new'cyber-space' in which to pursue adventure: www.artiam.org.
We want people to embark on a fun adventure the minute they hit the site. We hope to encourage people to take a creative risk. We think that the world would run better if people expressed their creativity more freely on a day-to-day basis.
Big thought. Big adventure.
And so, as virgin Webbers, we set forth, looking for a team of pros to help us meet our goals. Barking Dog Studios heard the call. They pitched. We liked and laughed. The deal was signed. We're now working with Art Jammers around the globe.
As the project coordinator, my criteria was very simple. I wanted Barking Dog to have as much fun as they could in designing our site. My team would provide the raw material and B.D.S. would use their own imaginations to spin that material into what our essence was. I figured that if B.D.S. was having fun on our job, they would put more energy into making the site rock.
Barking Dog Studios, now in its fourth year of operation, consists of three core creative team members / new media aficionados - and Sheba, the barking dog.
And so we introduced them to our essence. They came to an Art Jam. We ate Chinese together. They hung out in our space. We e-mailed and chatted. They got it and they ran with it. It was that simple. The site launched, complete with animations, roll-overs, fun and games.
And so the moral of the story is this:
Think of your Web site as an adventure for the Web master. Provide them with the goods. And then, be brave and trust that something good will happen if you let people have fun.
Editor's Note: Since its launch, Art Jam has won two prestigious international awards for the site: the Artis Hot Site and the Medaille d'Or Website excellence awards. Something good has happened!
For more information about Art Jam/Guerrilla Galleries, call (519) 767-0142.